The project replaces one of the two submarine cables connecting Orkney to mainland Scotland


Cable-laying vessel replacing the cables connecting the Scottish islands. (Credit: SSE.)

Scottish energy company SSE has announced that its networks business SSEN has completed installing the new 37km submarine electricity distribution cable connecting Orkney to mainland Scotland.

The £30m Pentland Firth East cable project replaces one of the two submarine cables connecting the two regions.

It involved the installation of the 33kV cable between Murkle Bay, near Thurso and Rackwick Bay on the island of Hoy. With Global Offshore as the principal contractor, the project involved the deployment of marine vessels such as the Normand Clipper and Global Symphony.

The installation also allowed for the removal of about 7km of existing overhead power lines in Rackwick, Hoy. Carried out in partnership with McGowan Environmental Engineering, the overhead lines have been replaced with underground cables.

According to SSE, local companies Pentland Ferries and McAdie and Reeve played an important role in delivering the land cable works, with a bulk cargo vessel chartered to deliver 5,000 tonnes of high specification sand to Lyness harbour.

SSEN plans to replace 90KM of submarine cables by 2023 in Scottish islands

SSEN has taken up a programme to replace nearly 90km of submarine cables connecting Scotland’s island communities by 2023, a fifth of the total number are currently in operation.

After routine inspections it was found that the Pentland Firth East cable had to be replaced and in last July, the company completed repairs to the cable in Rackwick Bay following a cable fault.

In August, SSEN selected main contractors for the construction of the 600MW Shetland HVDC link and all associated infrastructure.

The Shetland HVDC link will connect Shetland to the Great Britain transmission system for the first time.